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Dominant visions have tended towards imagining Europe as an object - an entity of one sort or another. This book explores the different spaces of Europe/European Union (EU). The first part of the book presents research critically examining actor practices within familiar spaces of action - the European Parliament and the European Commission. It makes the case for the salience of research which distinguishes between spaces of 'frontstage' and 'backstage' politics and shows the interactions between the two. One cannot understand how EU gender mainstreaming policy really works unless one engages with the processes and actors involved. The second part presents research showing how, through their political work, a range of individuals and groups have sought to reconcile Europe with social representations of their industry or their nation to bring about change. It presents a case study of impact assessment of flatfish stocks in the North Sea, and contributes to the cross-fertilisation of Science and Technology Studies with a political sociology of the EU. The book shows how actors are pursuing regional interests, and the work they do in referencing Europe promotes agendas in the 'home' contexts of Scotland and canton Zurich. The final part of the book explores practices of EU government which either have been under-explored hitherto or are newly emerging. These are the knowledge work of a European consultant; measurement work to define and create a European education policy space; collective private action to give social meaning to sustainable Europe.
This chapter focuses on education policy in Europe and shows its significant role in the making of the European Union (EU). It conceptualises education in Europe as an autonomous policy space that is both common and complementary, and built on historical and contemporary exchanges of ideas and practices. The chapter argues that the physical properties of this policy space are not so much formal rules, but data, indicators and benchmarks. It draws on the research data derived from 'Fabricating Quality in European Education', 'Knowledge and Policy' and 'Transnational Policy Learning'. The chapter builds upon the political sociological approaches to the EU, an emergent research agenda which has been unfolding through important scholarly work especially in France since the mid-1990s. It draws upon histories of statistics which demonstrate the political, technical and cognitive work necessary to the emergence of both the nation and national statistics and their imbrication in each other.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book suggests that the holding of inclusive assumptions enables us to think about Europe differently. It presents the research of critically examining the actor practices within familiar spaces of action of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The book then presents research showing how, through their political work, a range of individuals and groups have sought to reconcile Europe with social representations of their industry or their nation to bring about change. It explores the practices of the European Union (EU) government, which either have been under-explored hitherto or have the newly emerging knowledge work of a European consultant. The book also the explores measurement work to define and create a European education policy space. It provides the collective private action to give social meaning to sustainable Europe.